Yim Lam (Nicole) Lee is among the new faculty at Northwestern this year. Lee will be teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) courses.
Originally from Hong Kong, Lee developed an interest in teaching English while studying translation and linguistics at the University of Hong Kong. This interest led her to begin her doctorate in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) at the University of Ohio in 2006.
During her time attending the university in Columbus, Ohio, Lee volunteered at an immigration center teaching English. Her students ranged in age from 18 to 65 and came from all parts of the globe. Aside from teaching in the classroom, Lee has experience in both one-on-one tutoring and research.
Most NW students take for granted that their classes will be taught in their primary language, and most, even if they should, don’t think about mechanics while doing assingments. Lee helps students who are not native English speakers learn different strategies for following lectures in class. These strategies also help students recognize the elements that constitute good writing in English.
ESL classes, for Lee, are about more than learning to take tests in English or learning rules to follow when writing an essay. They are a chance for students from different cultural backgrounds to work together to develop English skills and to become better overall students. Lee stresses that ESL class are “not just [about] language skills.”
One thing that attracted Lee to NW was the chance to freely talk about her faith in the classroom. While teaching at the government-run immigration center in Columbus, this was not an option. “When I had lessons about Easter and Christmas,” Lee explained, “I could talk about Christian history but I couldn’t really elaborate about my viewpoint as a Christian.”
Lee also looks forward to being able to enrich the NW community by being a representative of her native Hong Kong by sharing her culture with students and faculty.
Besides teaching, Lee enjoys swimming, playing piano and traveling. Santorini Island in Greece and The Maldives are among her favorite places she has traveled.